Parents intimidating teachers
Section 28 of the 1998 Education Act gives power to the Minister for Education to implement a complaints procedure, but this power has consistently been ceded to teacher unions and school management.While most schools have signed up to a complaints procedure, they are not under any legal obligation to do so. The Ombudsman for Children has said repeatedly that this is not good enough.Both children were diagnosed with learning and behavioural difficulties and both felt that end-of-term and classroom reporting and feedback was impacting negatively on their children.They also felt that recommendations in occupational therapy and psychological reports were not being implemented. The Ombudsman found that although the school was pro-active in creating educational plans, the tone of their reporting was negative and, wrongly, benchmarked the children against their peers.
In her report, the Ombudsman said: “The [DES]has not directed that schools follow a specific complaints procedure . The Ombudsman’s 2010 report also raised concerns that the statutory arrangements for when a complaints procedure had not been put into operation.These tend to be children who do not live with their parents.Complaints have also been made by extended family members and professionals working directly with children, including teachers, principals and social workers.Logan says the Department of Education and Skills (DES) has failed in its responsibility to introduce a proper school-complaints process, and the National Parents’ Council (Primary) is deeply unhappy with the current procedure.Complaints made against schools tend to concern how peer bullying is handled; decisions relating to expulsions and suspensions; issues around school transport or special needs resources; and teacher behaviour or attendance.